PRIVATE SERVICES - FAQ
What services do you offer?
We offer the following range of services to fee-paying patients:
- Mole removal
- Sebaceous cysts removal
- Lipoma removal
- Skin tag removal
- Wart removal
- Lump & Bump Check
Where are the operations carried out?
You will have your skincare procedure/operation completed at our centres in Plymouth and Barnstaple . The premises are modern and comfortable and fully accredited with Care Quality Commission (CQC)
Why can’t I have it done for free on the NHS?
The NHS does not routinely fund certain procedures such as removal of normal moles, warts, lipomas or sebaceous cysts. The NHS needs to target its funding on more serious health issues. We know that patients still want to be treated and may wish to consider funding the procedure themselves. Our service has been set up to help patients from this group.
Why do I have to pay for this service?
Recent funding pressures have resulted in the NHS withdrawing from provision of minor surgical services for that annoying lump, bump or mole. Patients are then left with a choice of putting up with it or spending a lot of money on an expensive private procedure. As a GP led organisation we heard the frustration of our patients and decided to start offering an affordable private service to meet the growing demand from patients. We are a not for profit organisation so we’re not in the market to make money we just want to give our patients options for more affordable surgery and any profit made will be re-invested in local primary care.
How much does it cost?
Please view our pricing page.
How can I pay?
Payment is by credit and debit card by phone and in advance of the appointment.
Do I have an appointment to see the doctor first and then come back another day for the op?
No, we can usually provide the treatment you need in the one visit to our clinic. The clinician will complete the consultation with you and then, where appropriate, complete the procedure during your visit.
I'm seeing a doctor at the hospital for my complaint - can I still go ahead with an operation with you?
You should ask your own GP before making a referral to this service.
Can I get my operation through private insurance?
You may be able to secure funding through a private health insurance plan. You will need to check this with your plan provider before booking your appointment.
Do I have to sign any forms?
Yes, you will be asked to sign a Consent form for the surgery after the consultation.
How long is the waiting list?
We aim to offer an appointment and surgery within 2 weeks of you contacting us.
What days does the service operate?
We offer a range of days and times for the procedures and we can advise you of this when you call.
Is there parking at the clinic?
Yes, there is free parking on site for patients at both the Plymouth and Barnstaple centres.
Are there out of working hours appointments?
The service is currently available from Monday to Friday at our Plymouth centre and we offer evening appointments at our Barnstaple centre.
Is there an age limit?
Our skincare service can see and treat over 18’s and there is no upper age limit. There are some procedures which may be inappropriate for under 18’s – please call us to check 0333 332 2105.
What happens if I can't attend on the day of my appointment?
Please ring 0333 332 2105 as soon as you know that you can’t attend and we will try to re-arrange your appointment to another date.
Is there a cancellation fee payable?
We always try to agree alternative dates for appointments so please contact us as soon as possible if you cannot make your appointment. If you choose to cancel your appointment and procedure then the consultation fee only will be payable. Please note that cancellation less than 48 hours prior to the appointment will be charged the consultation fee.
Do you do discount for pensioners? Or NHS staff?
Yes there is a 10% discount for both these groups. Please ask when you make your booking.
Do I have to ask my GP to refer me?
No, you can refer yourself direct to the service without seeing your GP. Your GP will be advised of the procedure once the surgery has been completed.
How long will it take?
Each procedure varies and the estimated time for each one is:
- Mole removal – 30 minutes for a maximum of 2 removals
- Lipomas – 30 minutes
- Sebaceous cysts removal – 30 minutes
- Wart removal – 15 minutes
- Skin tag removal – 20 minutes
- Lump and Bump Check – 10 minutes
What happens if I pay for the consultation and operation in advance but on the day the doctor says an operation isn't appropriate?
You will only be charged for the consultation that day and the rest of the money will be refunded to your card.
Who performs the operations?
Our skincare service is delivered by GPs with extensive experience in minor surgery. All our GP surgeons are highly experienced and have the specialist skills in this clinical area.
Our surgeons have performed minor surgical procedures for a minimum of 5 years and we deliver excellent levels of care. We achieve this through rigorous audit processes and we invite patient feedback not just on the success of the operation but also on the experience of the service received.
Can I bring a friend as I'm nervous?
Yes, a friend or relative is welcome to attend with you. We can also provide a chaperone if you would like one. The clinician performing your procedure will usually be accompanied by a nurse.
Is it a general or local anaesthetic?
All the procedures will be under local anaesthetic. Please advise of any issues or reactions that you have to anaesthetic when you make your booking.
Will the wound bleed afterwards?
Your surgery will be performed to the highest standards and it is rare for there to be bleeding after the operation. Your surgeon will be able to advise you about the risk of bleeding and how to manage it should it occur on the day of your operation.
Will I have stitches (sutures)?
It depends on the operation performed. Where possible we will use techniques to minimise suture material and scarring. The stitches can be removed at your own GP practice.
Do I get pain relief?
Your comfort during the procedure is of paramount importance to us. Most procedures involve local anaesthetic which stings for a few seconds to begin with and then the procedure should be pain free.
Certain procedures such as skin tag removal usually don’t require anaesthetic but your surgeon can discuss this with you on the day of your procedure.
Will you tell my GP what I have had done?
Yes, for skincare procedures, your GP will be advised once the procedure is complete.
Who will give me the results – your surgeon or my GP?
Our surgeon will discuss and agree this with you during your consultation.
How soon will I get the results of any tests?
We would normally expect the results to be returned within 3 weeks.
Will you check what you remove to ensure it's not cancerous?
We do not remove cancerous lesions as part of this service. If your GP had any concerns about a cancer diagnosis they would refer you to the hospital rather than our service. If you came straight to our service and we had concerns about cancer we would redirect you to hospital on an urgent cancer pathway.
All moles removed will be sent the histology department at Derriford Hospital to be checked. The cost of histology for moles is included in the price of the procedure.
Who will take the stitches out and when?
A nurse in your own GP surgery will remove the stitches and check the wound at the appropriate time after the operation.
Can I drive after?
Yes in most circumstances although there may be occasions when this is more difficult and your surgeon will discuss this with you.
Can I go back to work after?
Yes, the majority of procedures mean you can return to work dependent on what your line of work is. This will be discussed with you during the consultation with your doctor.
What do I do if I'm not happy with the service?
We aim to provide a high quality service and we want to know if we fall short of that. Please discuss any concerns with any staff member or write to us at:
Sentinel Healthcare SouthWest
Express Diagnostics & Treatment Services
6 Research Way
We want to continually improve our service and will also ask for your written feedback on the service after your procedure.